Smartphone-related posture injuries are on the rise — here's how to prevent them

text neck smartphone black and white portrait of a stressed woman suffering from pain
kmiragaya / 123RF Stock Photo
Smartphone user complaints about neck and back pain from Forward Head Posture (FHP), also known as text neck, are on the upswing, Reuters reports. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize your chances of injury.

Surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles published a study in The Spine Journal that showed posture-related injuries from smartphone use are increasing.

“In an X-ray, the neck typically curves backward, and what we’re seeing is that the curve is being reversed as people look down at their phones for hours each day,” study co-author Dr. Todd Lanman told Reuters.

According to the surgeons, when you hold your head looking forward in a neutral position it weighs 10 to 12 pounds. When you’re looking down at a smartphone it can feel like 27 pounds. In addition to being a pain in the neck, your spine gets hit, too, where the effect is the same as a 60-pound weight.

“By the time patients get to me, they’re already in bad pain and have disc issues,” Lanman said. “The real concern is that we don’t know what this means down the road for kids today who use phones all day.”

Texting with smartphones causes more problems than watching videos or browsing online, according to Lanman and co-author Jason Cuellar. The angle of the neck is even worse for most people when sitting than standing.

The surgeons are particularly concerned about younger people using smartphones. “For today’s users, will an 8-year-old need surgery at age 28?” Lanman asked. “In kids who have spines that are still growing and not developed, we’re not sure what to expect or if this could change normal anatomies.”

How can you prevent or lower your chances of getting text neck yourself? Safer smartphone postures include holding your phone higher and using both hands when you’re texting.

The doctors also recommended using computer screens at natural eye level, whether sitting or standing — and that includes laptops, so you will likely need a separate keyboard and monitor to maintain the best posture. Stretching, exercises to strengthen the neck and shoulders, and regular breaks can also help and are highly recommended.

Product Review

Fascinating Finney phone is crypto in a nutshell: Exciting, but also terrifying

The Sirin Labs Finney phone is to cryptocurrency what the iPhone is to Apple Pay. It facilitates the payment, processing, and exchanging of cryptocurrencies on a smartphone, and surprisingly does it in a user-friendly way.
Home Theater

Reasons not to mount a TV over your fireplace (and other helpful tips)

Mounting a TV above your fireplace may be popular and it might even seem appealing, but we have some concerns. We've got a list of reasons why placing your digital picture machine over a fire should be avoided, if at all possible.
Wearables

Focals succeed where Google Glass fumbled (but do we really need smartglasses?)

It’s been seven years since Google took the wraps off Google Glass. Now, we’re finally getting a modern-day equivalent we want to wear. North’s Focals combine subtle style with an intuitive interface to craft smartglasses you’ll…
Wearables

To be blunt, the Vuzix Blade smartglasses just don’t cut it

We tried out the Vuzix Blade to find out if it’s worth shelling out $1,000 for smartglasses. Are these augmented reality, Android-powered glasses really ready for primetime or just an expensive gimmick that no one really needs?
Deals

The 10 best computer reading glasses to help reduce eye strain

Eye strain, headaches, and dry eyes are all side effects of too much exposure to blue light and screen glare. Get yourself a pair of computer reading glasses to help relieve the discomfort.
Mobile

9 million veterans can now access their health records on an iPhone

Apple announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that allows as many as 9 million veterans to access their health records straight on their iPhone. The announcement could have a significant impact on veterans'…
Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Outdoors

These wireless earbuds use an A.I. to get you moving faster

The new Soul Blade wireless earbuds provide the ability to track your heart rate during a workout while an A.I.-powered coach gives advice and info on how to improve form and efficiency while exercising.
Deals

Under Armour drops prices on Gore-Tex Jackets, Pants, and backpacks

The UA Outlet Exclusive sale is going on right now through Monday, February 18. During this time, you can get up to 40 percent off a huge range of outlet items, including Gore-Tex rain gear.
Deals

Tom Brady uses these high-tech sheets for muscle pain, and they’re on sale now

Under Armour Recovery Sheets feature unique technologies that can speed your body’s post-workout healing process, and they’re on sale right now at discounts of up to $87. Read on to find out how these innovative sheets work (and how you…
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on Fitbit Versa smartwatches for Presidents’ Day

Amazon is offering a solid $30 discount on this great fitness tracking smartwatch right now. So if you're looking for a wearable that can help you track steps, sleep, and activity, now is a great time to pick one up for less.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Deals

This Bowflex secret sale can save you over $1K on high-tech fitness equipment

With advances in technology, taking control of your fitness has become easier than ever, and with this huge discount on the Bowflex Max Trainer M7, it's affordable, too. Save more than $1,000 on a new fitness machine with this promo code.